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Headline

The Voice of Tokyo for over 50 Years

JAPAN’S NO.1 ENGLISH LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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Voice of Tokyo #7: TW Checks In With The City’s Trendsetters

By Zoria Petkoska

The humans of Tokyo make this metropolis pulse with energy. In this Voice of Tokyo, from our September-October 2022 issue, we check in with four of the many Tokyo voices that make the cacophony a symphony.

Alex T Thomas, Multitalent

It’s only a matter of time before this dazzling creative becomes world famous – even a psychic told her it’s her destiny. Great at photography, modeling, directing, comedy, designing, dancing, drawing and probably anything she tries, her future is certainly bright like a disco ball.

What is your current obsession?

I’m still celebrating the fact that I finished something. To finally create, shoot, edit and share the fake MTV Cribs episode of my Tokyo apartment project is both exciting and a relief.

Showa Bubble Pop! is your weekly curated collection of Showa-era vibes. What Tokyo area is the most fertile hunting ground for those aesthetics?

Neighborhoods untouched by the passage of time. The east side of Tokyo and anything between major stops usually has hidden treasure troves of dusty yet dazzling kissaten and snack bars.

What future fashion do you want to see on the streets of Tokyo?

More crop tops! For everybody, guys too! Let’s see some skin! There are no gods of shame here – where are the midriffs at?

Why is Tokyo home?

I work in extremes like Japan. I love praying quietly at a money shrine – and then walking around the corner to find a flashing, screaming pachinko parlor. Efficient, compact. While there’s no perfect country on this planet, I prefer the “WTF?” moments in Japan, which in most cases fill me with laughter or bemusement – unlike other countries’ “WTF” moments that evoke in me rage and despair. I also really love rice.

Iris Haukamp, Film Scholar and Professor

An associate professor of Japanese film at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, her research interests include interwar cinema, international coproductions and local film culture. You can probably find her digging in the archives for old films in Tokyo.

What is your current obsession?

The great outdoors! Being surrounded by greenery and just walking more or less aimlessly is the best way for me to get rid of the Covid-induced brain fog.

What’s your favorite film that takes place in Tokyo?

Tokyo Godfathers, a 2003 anime by Satoshi Kon. It shows Tokyo, its landscape and social structure and the people within, in all its complexity.

What’s one Tokyo spot you would visit over and over again?

Right now, that would be the NHK museum. I find broadcasting history and technology extremely interesting. And the museum is in a lovely area next to Atago Shrine and its “staircase of success” – you’ll definitely feel successful once you’ve climbed up the 86 steep steps.

Is Tokyo unique?

As I’m discovering more and more of Tokyo by just walking about, Tokyo is an eclectic and, therefore, inspiring place. It might not be unique in this regard, but perhaps its sheer size and history enable the “discovery” of new things every day.

Guy Miron, Mixologist

Dedicated to his craft, this mixologist can be found making exquisite cocktails at Homebase Bar in Azabu-Juban. He himself boasts a cocktail of skills, having experience as a professional actor and dancer in his native Israel, among other things.

What is your current obsession?

A long-lasting obsession of mine is board games – I have played more than 1,000 and own about 70. My goal is to develop board games that can endure the elements and are good for taking camping. Recently, I also got into food preservation, especially with a dehydrator. One of the things I make is beef jerky, which is available at Homebase.

What’s the most exciting Japanese drink you have come across?

Hirezake – a method of drinking hot sake with a blowfish fin inside and set on fire. The fish fin adds a wonderful umami to the drink, even though blowfish itself is really nothing special in taste.

If Tokyo were a cocktail, what would be the recipe?

No risks in safe Tokyo, so the cocktail will not be shaken, only lightly stirred. The drink has to be consistent, simple, the flavors not overpowering. Consume it until you find yourself waking up in Shibuya gripping your briefcase with a hangover.

Why is Tokyo the best?

The amazing konbini for snacks at all times. The Kanto food, especially cold soba and natto that I could eat until the end of time. And beautiful nature within reach!

Reyna Marquez, Artist and Organizer

Marquez is a creative director and, together with Chloe Douglas, a co-founder of QLove. With this nonprofit organization, they aim to create fun, sexy and safe spaces for queer and marginalized people and pay homage to the vibrant LGBTQ scenes in their home cities of Seattle (Marquez) and London (Douglas). Marquez is also a talented artist and entrepreneur at her brand Xeno Babe.

What is your current obsession?

My partner and I recently moved to a brand-new apartment in Asakusa. I enjoy cooking, so having a fully equipped kitchen with lots of counter space makes me excited to share dishes I grew up eating.

Other than the events you create with QLove, what’s your favorite queer-welcoming space in Tokyo?

Tokyo Kiki Lounge is great. It reminds me of some of the parties I used to go to back home.

What inspired your artistic venture Xeno Babe, which centers around a sexy “neither human nor alien” entity?

At the time, I was very depressed. I used to go to random bars and cafés and start sketching scenarios that actually happened to me. Xeno in Greek means stranger. I just wanted to channel how I felt on the inside, a weird, sexy girl not anchored to any part of society.

Describe Tokyo in three words only.

FA KING AWESOME.

 


Read the previous installments of TW’s Voice of Tokyo:

Voice of Tokyo #1 | Voice of Tokyo #2 | Voice of Tokyo #3 | Voice of Tokyo #4 | Voice of Tokyo #5 | Voice of Tokyo #6